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Cannot believe that it is not structural

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by Fortunecat, Jun 29, 2020.

  1. Fortunecat

    Fortunecat New Member

    Hi there,

    I have been on this forum for some time now, it has helped me many times, and I sincerely wish everyone on this forum to get better and better.

    I have started my upper back / neck / shoulder pain since 8 years ago when I moved to the UK. I don't have it bad every day, but averagely, once in a week, I would wake up with pain, and right at that point I know it would be a bad day, and as the day progresses, I would only feel worse and more depressed. I feel my upper back and neck always so tense, that I can feel the tightness which cannot be massaged away.

    Like many people in this forum, I see myself on every page in Dr. Sarno's books. My parents fought a lot when I was young, and I have always been very sensitive and put lots of pressure on myself. After discovering Dr. Sarno, I have tried journaling, mindfulness, and follow the various programs here. The 'recovery' is really unstable. I've really had good days, when I believe that I was almost cured and I could keep everything in control; but then suddenly another day of pain, I started to have doubts again.

    I have a few questions that kept me from believing that is 100%
    - It seems that the pain coincides with rain, as it sometimes predicts the rain
    - When I move around, and stretch I sometimes can hear very loud cracking noise that scares me
    - I can feel all the tightness in my muscles which never go away
    - Exercise can help with the pain, so it keeps me from believing it as 100% non-structural.
    - I need to sit long hours as my job requires lots of coding, so how can I prove that the pain is not from posture? (since if you keep doing the same thing your muscle would hurt).

    Even though with all the doubts I still think quite a bit probably is TMS because I am quite an anxious person, and I have other conditions, including really bad headache, stomach upset, TMJ... I also have bunions but I suppose that is indeed structural?

    Also, somehow, even if I know that my mental status probably creates all of this pain, I still can do nothing about it.... I lie in bed trying hours to tell me that it is not structural, but just cannot get rid of the pain. Sometime the 'Aha' moment comes randomly which took my mind off, but sometimes it just doesn't come...

    What should I do? ...
  2. miffybunny

    miffybunny Beloved Grand Eagle

    Everything you describe is classic, textbook TMS 100 percent. You have a whole list of triggers...innocuous things like weather or anticipation of weather, sitting, posture. The cracking noises induce fear even though those are innocuous as well. The tightness in muscles is coming form the inner tension you are generating every single minute with the personality type you have. There is constant internal pressure. the fact that you feel better with exercise is evidence that your pain is inconsistent 9another hallmark of TMS).

    Getting better will involve allowing yourself to feel your emotions, becoming aware of the chronic habitual thought patterns that generate tension and then changing them, reducing stressors in your life so you can be happier and live authentically. Fear and focus are what fuel TMS. Indifference to symptoms and knowledge that you are not broken and safe is what will make the symptoms fade out.

    The problem is your brain is in a constant state of hyper vigilance and your body is in a constant state of tension. The key is to calm down your brain and to think psychologically.
  3. Fortunecat

    Fortunecat New Member

    Thanks for your reply. I can see your point here, which is also what I've tried to tell myself.

    Though, for the cracking sound, my husband rarely has it - or do you think it has something to do with me being tight all the time?

    Also, I had ganglia and got an aspiration and steroid injection around half a year ago (I was told to have early signs of arthritis), it got better immediately but the ganglia bump would come back every time I do push-ups, or other forms of workout that bends my wrist... I actually was quite confident it was TMS so I started exercising without restrictions, but then as the bump and pain came back every time I do push-ups, and got even worse than before the injection, I started to have doubts. Now I try to avoid doing heavy work on my wrist and seem to manage it okay. This is another example that I think the cause could be actually structural...

    Same with my bunions, it is quite obvious there is a structure deform, and it hurts which makes sense since shoes never fit very well - another case that the cause is actually structure.

    So, I ended up debating with myself quite a lot, as the evidence is not consistent... If my wrist / bunions are not TMS, then, why would my neck / upper back be? Could there really be some true issues there?

    Or, on the other hand, are people who recovered actually just suppressed the warning signals and ignored them as much as possible, when the actual structure problem is indeed there...?
  4. miffybunny

    miffybunny Beloved Grand Eagle

    A structural problem does not come and go or wax and wane. It's constant. People who recovered had chronic pain stemming from the brain from a neural circuit issue, which is TMS. All injuries heal. Bunions are structural so that is different than TMS. Ganglia is something you can see but not sure if that causes pain? As far as your back and neck pain and what you described above, that is purely TMS. The cracking sounds are most likely innocuous and can't harm you. Some people are just creaky. Even young people have that so there's no correlation with pain imo.
  5. Fortunecat

    Fortunecat New Member

    Thanks for your swift reply.

    Yes for bunions it is structural and ganglia it seems to grow bigger every time I tried to exercise without restrictions and hurt too. I suppose these are indeed structural, but tbh they don't bother me as much as my neck and shoulder.

    Even when I was young, around 15 years old, I started to have neck pain (I studied a lot as a kid to excel in class). I went to have an X-ray, and it was clear on the picture that my neck curve is reversed (so it actually bend forward). Could deform like that be a source of pain? In many alternative medicines the curve is seen as abnormal, though I've also had a MRI scan to rule out arthritis which came back normal (though it is still reversed curve, but the doctor seems to be not worry about that).

    When I do some stretch on my neck, such as with a tower, or with a neck pillow I do feel immediate release though.
  6. miffybunny

    miffybunny Beloved Grand Eagle

    Research has shown (Dr. Sarno noted this as well) that there's no correlation between structural "abnormalities" and pain. The alternative world is rife with charlatanism so I would not give any of that a second thought. Your personality (overly conscientious, perfectionist etc) generated a lot of internal pressure since you were young and this sensitized the brain after awhile. Add on top of that life stressors and cumulative daily stress and it manifests as chronic pain. When you do stretching exercises (like with a pillow), it relaxes you and creates a feeling of safety. This gets communicated to the brain and it calms down. Then it becomes a conditioned response. (sort of a placebo effect). You actually don't need the crutches of the pillow etc. It's all a mental thing (your thoughts and beliefs about the pillow for ex). I hope this helps!

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